Bungee jumping is probably the easiest adventure sport in the entire world, insomuch that it requires little preparation, no training and zero skill. It does, however, require a leap of faith and serious nerves of steel.
Basically, you attach one end of a long rubber band to yourself, and throw yourself off a bridge, tower, dam, or helicopter, coming perilously close to the ground, before bouncing back towards the sky. See, easy peasy.
The five to ten seconds of freefall is one of the most visceral and immediate thrills that any adventure traveller can experience and, fortunately, there plenty of places to try it all across the globe. As one of the world’s most popular adrenaline sports, there are options to leap off everything from bridges to cranes, in locations including New Zealand - the birthplace of the sport - to China, which has the world’s highest bungee from a building. For those really wanting to up the ante, there's even a jump into an active volcano.
For those who have tasted the thrill of this sport, once is usually never enough, and true bungee addicts strive to jump from the Earth’s wildest, record-breaking structures. Here we've gathered the world's 20 most thrilling locations for your bungee bucket list, so leave behind your apprehensions and experience a few seconds of your life on the edge (well, technically, off the edge, but you catch our drift).
20 Niouc Bridge, Switzerland
Nicknamed “Spider Bridge,” thanks to its cobweb of cable wires, this jump takes place in the midst of the panoramic Val d’Annivers valley, surrounded by mountains as high as 4,000 meters, including Mt. Matterhorn. It is one of Switzerland's wildest and most beautiful sites.
As it's the world’s tallest suspension footbridge, you’ll need a Spiderman-like head for heights just to cope with the thrill of walking across the structure, let alone the rush you’ll feel from plunging 623ft over the Navizence River.
19 The O2, London
Sick of all those typical tourist views of the London skyline? This might be the bungee jump for you. How about taking in those postcard scenes upside down, with your feet strapped to a bungee rope, instead?
Located in North Greenwich, next to the iconic O2 Arena, this 160ft crane might not be the highest bungee jump on the list but it does offer magnificent views of the Thames, Canary Wharf and central London. After a safety briefing, you’ll be hoisted above the city’s skyline in a bungee cage. If you think you’ll find safety in numbers, you can even take a mate and make a tandem jump.
18 The Kawarau Bridge in New Zealand
This is where it all started - the World Home of Bungee. Pioneers AJ Hackett and Henry van Asch launched themselves off the Kawarau Bridge in New Zealand back in 1988, and in the process, claim to have started the international phenomenon now known as bungee jumping. Nestled into a rock face overlooking the stunning Kawarau, bungee fans still flock to the bridge in Queenstown to take on the original 141ft jump.
There are options to jump tandem, but if your friends would rather watch you take the plunge solo, they can view everything from the safety of a nearby observation deck.
17 The Victoria Falls Bridge In Zimbabwe
This is undeniably one of the most beautiful jumps in the world - where else on the planet can you jump headfirst into a rainbow? The jump is located over the majestic Zambezi River and as you plummet 365ft, the stunning views of the Batoka Gorge surround you, with the amazing Victoria Falls providing a dramatic backdrop. You will then experience four seconds of mind-blowing free fall.
Don't forget to take your passport on the day because the bridge marks the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia.
16 The Macau Tower in China
The Macau Tower is one of the highest bungee jumps in the world. As you careen downward alongside the tower itself, you will fall a bewildering 764ft and the bungee rope won’t jerk until you are just 98ft from the ground. You plummet for about four to five seconds at extreme speeds, making it an adrenaline junkie’s dream. When it’s over, a guided cable lowers jumpers into a specially designed airbag that provides a safe and soft end to the adventure. The very brave can even bungee jump at night.
15 The Royal Gorge Bridge In Colorado
Colorado is home to one of the highest bridge bungee jumps in the world. The Royal Gorge Bridge is a massive 1,260ft-long suspension bridge that towers 150ft above the Arkansas River and up until 2003, it was considered the tallest bridge in the world. However, bungee jumpers can't just rock up and take the plunge whenever they like. Bungee jumping and BASE jumping off this bridge are only legal during the three-day event of the GoFast! Games, which are by invitation only. The fall from the bridge lasts approximately 15 seconds.
14 Verzasca Dam, Switzerland
Live out your James Bond fantasies by plunging off this 720ft arch dam. This jump found mainstream fame in the opening sequence of the 1995 Bond movie Goldeneye, in one of the most memorable movie stunts of all time, and it is the second highest bungee jump in the world, offering 7.5 seconds of free fall.
If you can get over the fear of slamming into concrete at high speeds for a nano-second, you’ll be able to enjoy unmatched views of the stunning Verzasca Valley.
13 The Bloukrans Bridge in South Africa
At more than 700ft tall, the Bloukrans Bridge is an intimidating sight to behold. The bridge is located north of Cape Town and 40 kilometres east of Plettenberg Bay. It’s the highest single span arch bridge and among the most popular bungee jumping destinations in the world.
The view from Africa’s highest bridge captures all the majesty and tranquility of the Bloukrans River valley - though, admittedly, there is nothing calming about throwing yourself more 790ft down towards the river below.
12 Volcano Bungee Near Pucon, Chile
This jump really puts the extreme in extreme sports. You have to bungee jump off a helicopter - insane in itself, but wait for it - free fall between 350 and 375ft, while dangling over molten lava. Yes, you read that right: Molten lava.
Assuming your cord doesn’t snap and you plummet into an active volcano, you have to then fly back to the airport still hanging on your rope. The price isn’t exactly backpacker friendly but then again, this is a totally unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and you can dine out on the story for years to come.
11 The Navajo Bridge In Arizona
Most people hike in the Grand Canyon or admire its awe-inspiring grandeur at leisure. But if the thought of that makes you yawn, why not step it up a notch and dive in head-first? Located near the North Rim of the iconic canyon, this jump provides a 470ft plummet between two vertical, red sandstone walls, making it a memorable drop.
There are several operators who offer bungee jumps from the bridge, and depending on who you sign up with, you can also take a cooling dip in the river afterwards to unwind and reflect on surviving this epic ride.
10 Austria's Europabrücke Bridge
This massive, 630-foot-tall structure spans more than 2,500ft across the Wipp Valley, and supports the stretch of Autobahn twisting through the Alps between western Austria and Italy. It’s the highest bridge in Austria, and the seventh highest bridge in all of Europe.
When you jump you will reach the speed of 100 km/h in a mind-blowing two seconds and experience a flying time of five seconds. Plus, you can shake up your Insta feed with amazing upside-down snaps of the Alps.
9 Ponte Colossus, Italy
Located at the heart of Biellese Alps, the Ponte Colossus, or “Tall Bridge” as it also known, stands at an impressive 500ft. It was built during the 1970s after the previous crossing had been flooded out in 1968, which destroyed much of the area.
It’s an imposing site for travellers, but if the views don’t take your breath away, the plunge from the top of it certainly will. The jump has an average 4.5 seconds of free fall and you’ll experience a whopping 2.7 Gs. Get your GoPro at the ready and capture what that kind of force does to your face.
8 Nevis Highwire Bungee, New Zealand
If you're looking for blood-pumping activities in Queenstown, something which will give you both a story to remember and bragging rights for life, then you need to do the Nevis Bungee.
It is Australasia's highest bungee, and the third highest bungee platform in the world, offering a nerve-shredding 440ft drop and 8.5 seconds of free fall.
The platform is in the Southern Alps near Queenstown in New Zealand's South Island. It is suspended by high-tension cords, which are fixed at both ends on either side of the Nevis River valley. Its awesome glass floor allows spectators to watch others jump.
7 Colorado River, Costa Rica
The most popular location for bungee jumping in Costa Rica is the Old Colorado River Bridge. The bridge spans a river gorge that runs 265ft deep, making it one of the tallest jumps in the Americas. Plunge towards the water and marvel at the rainforest canopy flanking either side - well, try to, at least.
It’s located just 40 minutes away from the capital of San Jose in Naranjo, Alajuela and is the oldest and highest bungee jump in the country.
6 Pont De Ponsonnas, France
Pont de Ponsonnas is a 200-year-old historical but dilapidated structure that was no longer in use until a few years back. Today, the bridge has been reworked to offer a safe pod, becoming one of the best places for bungee jumping in France - in fact, it’s the highest in the country at 338ft. The amazing free fall will last for about five seconds, and you can spend the rest of experience admiring the panoramic views of nature at its best with lush, green wilderness all around.
5 The Last Resort, Nepal
Experience the thrill of bungee jumping with the mighty Himalayas as your backdrop. The Last Resort, located a beautiful three-hour ride from Kathmandu, offers you the opportunity to take a leap from the longest suspension bridge in the country. The jump is an exhilarating 525ft down towards the gorging Bhote Kosi River, giving you the longest free fall in the world.
Designed, constructed and operated by very experienced Kiwis to adhere to all international standards, it is one of the best places for bungee jumping in Asia.
4 Extremo Park, Costa Rica
This is Latin America’s highest bungee jumping point at 470ft. What makes it even more unique is that your plunge takes place from a tram suspended by a cable over the cloud forests.
Jumping over the canopy of the pristine rainforest is an absolute must-do for any adrenaline junkies on tour in Costa Rica. Plus, the park, located in Monteverde, offers additional thrills by way of zip-lines, buggy tours and a super-swing - a dual-harness swing suspended 324ft above the ground.
3 Rio Grande Bridge, New Mexico
The Rio Grande Bridge, or the "Gorge Bridge" to locals, is north of Taos, New Mexico. Offering a jump of 565ft, it is the highest active jump in the entire country. However, it can only be jumped once a year, typically in the fall, but good things come to those who wait; its setting, over a high gorge with a roaring rover below, makes it one unforgettable jump for bungee enthusiasts and well worth the high price tag.
2 Kaivopuisto (Sky Breakers), Finland
Held each year between the end of July and the middle of August, ‘Sky Breakers’ is less of a single bungee jump and more of a festival dedicated to this sport. Jumpers can free-fall onto platforms floating on the sea or take part in a sort of pub bungee, with cocktails and party games thrown into the mix. There’s also bungee on a snowboard, jumps from hot air balloons and a boatload of beach-based activities.
The centrepiece of the event is the ‘Skybreaker’ jump, a 492ft fall. Basically, if you love bungee, this is the place to be.
1 Mohan Chatti, India
Run by ex-army officers and designed by New Zealanders, this is one of the best places for bungee jumping in India. The jump is from a platform constructed over an iron cliff which towers above the River Heval in Rishikesh, a tributary of the mighty river Ganges, and you’ll experience a freefall of 272ft down the Himalayan valley.
With its cool climate, picturesque landscapes and professional set-up, this extreme adventure zone is one of the best places to get your adrenalin-pumping thrills in India.
References: escapehere, businessinsider, cntraveler